Opening Prayer

Gracious and holy God,
Give us a will to seek you,
wisdom to understand you,
patience to wait for you,
a mind to meditate on you,
eyes to notice you,
ears to listen for your Word,
a heart to love you,
and a life to proclaim you,
through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, our Lord.


John 16:12-15

Cherishing the gift
(A children sermon)

Props: a box (like a small jewelry box) with various reminders of the Holy Spirit: e.g., love sign, a pretty stone (a reminder of baptism), etc.

I have a question.
When you love somebody how do you express it?
How do you show that you love that person?

Do you give a gift?
What kind of gift do you give?

I have another question.
When Jesus was going home, to be with his Father, he gave us a gift.
Jesus wants us to have this gift because he loves us.

Do you know what it is?
Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit.

Have you heard of the Holy Spirit?
Have you received the Holy Spirit?
Have you experienced the Holy Spirit?
How do we know whether we received the Spirit?
It is a good question, isn’t it?

We don’t see the Holy Spirit.
But we may feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.
When we have the Holy Spirit, we feel peace, love, joy and courage.
Also, we may feel the Holy Spirit, when we give ourselves to God.

Anyway, Jesus shares his love with us by giving us the Holy Spirit.
So, welcome the Holy Spirit.
Let the Holy Spirit to come and share everything with you.
Let the Spirit come and teach you.
In this way, you experience the love of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

So, here is something that may help you to remember the Holy Spirit this week.
Have this.
You can choose whatever you like.
Keep it with you as a sign that the Spirit is always with you.

OK? Let’s pray:
Jesus thanks you for giving us the Holy Spirit. In your name we pray. Amen.


Church, website, and social media

I would like to think about church website.
How as a Christ-follower, should we do website making?
How should we use social media sites?

Jesus lived a simple life.
Should we make a simple website so that we can communicate our message?
Maybe in order to communicate the story of Jesus, we should post something on our church website or social media site about the gospel of Jesus.
Maybe that is more important than posting our picture or our church history.

Many churches are starting to use social media sites to make a blog, twitter, and facebook page.
We can be very creative in this to introduce various ideas of Jesus on various issues.
We can also send emails to our members to share news.

I think each church should seek to provide spiritual value through websites, blog and so on. You can synchronize all of your web presences so that you can post in one place, and show up on all other sites.

Luke 4:1-4

Reading: Luke 4:1-4

In Luke 4:1-4, we read this account.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
One of the reasons that we gather at the church is to hear the words of God.
This is what Jesus was thinking.
We gather because we cannot live with the words of God.
Sometimes, we need to give up our food in order to follow the words of God.

When we celebrate communion, we retell the world that we cannot live without the words of God who is Jesus.
We confess that we will go astray if we don’t seek the will of God.

In order to do the will of God, we need to know the story of Jesus.
The story of Jesus is to explain what kind of thinking God does.
Every word Jesus said, expresses about the Father, the Son and the Spirit.
We need to learn how Jesus lives his life and how Jesus was faithful to God.
Only from the story of Jesus we learn how to live an abundant life.

In Luke 4:4, this important Jesus, says we cannot live by bread alone.
This is what we are called for.
Often we were pushed by all directions.
We fear and do something we know we shouldn’t do.
Often it is because if we don’t do, we will lose something.
Sometimes, we struggle between doing the will of God, and doing what is required.

We need to offer ourselves during those times.
When we obey God, we become a visible evidence of the story of Jesus.
We become a manifestation of the power of the story.
We become a part of the story of Jesus.

We need to choose to say, “I am not living by bread alone.”
We are living to follow the order of God.

You need to pray and read the story of Jesus.
You need to prayerful read Jesus’ words.
You may need to struggle in order to pray, meditate and contemplate on God.
You need to listen to Christ and read the word of Christ.
It calms your mind so that you can listen and obey God.

Having a prayer habit is one of the hardest things.
Many people try and give up praying.
They prayed when something bad happened.
But we need to pray regularly.
You need to read the story of Jesus or the gospels.
You need to encounter with Jesus.
You need to be challenged by Jesus’ Word.
You need to find some applicable things that you can do on earth.
In this way, you can live like Jesus.

Meditate on the words of Jesus.
Read a short text, and ponder about it.
Close your eyes and imagine what may happen there.
For example, when Jesus says, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone’” what was his tone of voice? What does his eyes look like? What was the weather like at that moment?
What do you think Jesus was thinking at that moment?
Jesus can show you and guide you there.

Read the same text again and again.
Write down the text.
Post it on somewhere.
Try to memorize it.

Anne Lamott

From "DINNER IN EMMAUS" Sermon Preached by Jon M. Walton (May 8, 2011)

It’s a story told by Anne Lamott about a writer friend of hers who took her two year old up to Lake Tahoe during the summer.
They were staying in a rented condominium by the lake.

And since it’s Tahoe and there is gambling there, the hotels have curtains and shades that block all the light so that you can stay up all night in the casinos and sleep all morning.
One afternoon, Anne’s friend put the baby to bed in his playpen in one of these rooms, in the pitch dark, and went to do some work.

A few minutes later she heard her baby knocking on the door from inside the room, and she got up, knowing he’d crawled out of his playpen.
She went to put him down again, but when she got to the door, she found he’d locked it.
He had somehow managed to push in the little button on the doorknob.
So he was calling to her, “Mommy, Mommy,” and she was saying to him, “Jiggle the doorknob, darling” and of course he didn’t speak much English – mostly he seemed to speak Urdu.

After a moment it became clear to him that his mother couldn’t open the door, and the panic set in.
He began sobbing.
The mother ran around like crazy trying everything possible, like trying to get the front door key to work, calling the rental agency where she left a message on the machine, calling the manager of the condominium where she left another message, and running back to check in on her son every minute or so.
And there he was in the dark, this terrified little child.

Finally she did the only thing she could which was to slide her fingers underneath the door, where there was a one inch space.
She kept telling him over and over to find her fingers.
Finally somehow he did.
So they stayed like that for a really long time, on the floor, him holding onto her fingers in the dark.
He stopped crying.

Eventually he relaxed and she kept saying, “Open the door now,” and every so often he’d jiggle the knob, and eventually, after maybe half an hour, it popped open.
Anne Lamott says, “I keep thinking of that story, how much it feels like I’m the two year old in the dark and God is the mother and I don’t speak the language. ...I... just hold onto her fingers underneath the door.
It isn’t enough, and it is.”



Call to Worship

Shout with joy to God, all the earth.
Worship God with gladness.
Come into God’s presence with singing!
Our God is gracious, merciful and faithful to all generations.
Let us worship God.

Opening Prayer

God our Father, you sent your Son to make us a new creation and give us abundant life. We wish to see Jesus so that we might also be the salt of the earth and light for the world. May your Spirit fill us and guide our eyes so they see, our ears so they hear, our hands so they may serve, our lips so we may praise you, our hearts so we love, and our feet so we may continue to walk in your paths as pilgrims who come to worship your Son. We ask this through Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession

Christ, you have sent your Spirit into our hearts that we might come to know you and love you. But we have not loved you and have not loved others, even though we were able to do so by the Spirit that you have given to us.
Forgive us for the sake of your compassion, as we lay down our anger, resentment, criticism and jealousy before you. Renew us in the power of your Spirit as we welcome you to come and make us new.

Silent Prayers of Confession

Declaration of Pardon

Open your hearts and hear the words:

Christ believes in you even when you don’t believe in yourself.
Christ loves you even when you don’t love yourself.
Christ forgives you even when you don’t forgive yourself.
Believe, speak, and live the Good News of the Gospel.
In Christ we are forgiven! Alleluia! Amen.

Offering prayer

Our faithful God, bless these gifts as your faith community comes alive in worship.
Bless them as your community is enriched through your Holy Spirit.
Bless them as your Word comes home to us, and renew us.
Bless them as the compassion of Jesus Christ goes to work through us and in us. Amen.


Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession

Christ, you have sent your Spirit into our hearts that we might come to know you and love you.
But we have not loved you and have not loved others, even though we were able to do so by the Spirit that you have given to us.
Forgive us for the sake of your compassion.
Renew us in the power of your Spirit, as we lay down our anger, resentment, criticism and jealousy before you. We welcome you to come and make us new.

Silent Prayers of Confession

Declaration of Pardon

Leader: In every creature Christ places first and for ever a word: God's forgiveness and confidence in us.
People: Christ offers us the energy to begin anew and walk in his footsteps.
Leader: Friends, believe the good news.
People: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.


Matt 5:33-37

Reading: Matt 5:33-37

God said to Jacob: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Gen 28:15)

God’s promise is stronger than anything.
God can make an oath and accomplish it.
When God says, “I will do such and such,” it is done.
Jacob could have said: “Amen. Thank you, God.”

But Jacob responded to God like this:
Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” (Gen 28: 20-22)

Then God might have said: “Whatever.”
It seems that Jacob didn’t believe and wanted to bargain with God, saying “If you keep your promise, I will keep my promise.” Then he thought that God would love and his deal. It shows his lack of faith. Or, when he was a cheater, everyone looks like a cheater.

Jesus says: (Matt 5:33-37)
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’
But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’
Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Jesus is saying, “You don’t know.”
Jesus explains who we are.
We don’t know what tomorrow may bring.
So, we don’t need to promise anything concerning our future.
So, we can only say that is now, by answering ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for now.
That is enough.
Otherwise, you may unintentionally lie simply because you don’t know the future.

God knows the future.
So, only God can make an oath.


Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession:

Forgive us, Christ, for we have sinned against you.
We have not loved you as you have loved us.
We have not loved each other as you have asked us to do.
Instead, we have formed a community where people criticize each other.
Then, since we were afraid of being criticized, we, without knowing, criticize first.
We gave each other a guilt trip.
Forgive us, Christ, for we have sinned against you.

(Silent prayer of confession)

Prayer of Assurance:

Jesus Christ, you have given us your life.
Now we give you ours.
Forgive us for what we have been in the past.
Through you, what we shall be begins now.
Take us, renew and remake us.
May we be your living presence in this world. Amen.


What is like to follow Christ Jesus?

When we want to follow Christ, we could not hesitate over a choice for fear of making a mistake. We cannot be buried under indecision.

When we say yes to Christ, we are entering into a spiritual life which is not natural to us.
So, we will make a lot of errors.
But because of the blood of Christ Jesus, we are already purified.
From the start, you need to start with the faith of Jesus.
We need to set out unseeing.
We need to take Jesus at his word.

Don’t nurture your own darkness.
Don’t hide your refusal.
You need to tear your hands from your eyes.
You need to dare to take a greatest of all risks, ‘dying and rising with Jesus Christ.’

What is like to follow Christ Jesus?
It is like becoming what you are in your heart of hearts.
It is like opening the gates of childhood.
It is like opening your heart to receive God’s love.


Matthew 24:45-51


When the Christ comes
Reading: Matthew 24:45-51

Jesus said:
Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

Think about this.
If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.

So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?

It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. He will put him in charge of all his possessions.

But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself:
“My master is staying away a long time.”
Then he begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.

The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.

He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.